How to repair wood veneer on a table

Written by cheryl torrie
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How to repair wood veneer on a table
Wood veneer may warp or bubble. (Wikimedia Commons)

Successfully repairing the wood veneer on a table gives you years of continued beauty and use from a piece of furniture that might have been destined for the dump. Fixing loose veneer edges, chipped veneer, table tops with missing veneer pieces, delaminated veneer panels, buckled and/or bubbled veneer or gouges is easier than you might think, and it's more cost-effective than replacing a table that is structural sound but not as beautiful as it once was.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Damp cloth
  • Metal straight edge
  • Craft knife
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Replacement veneer
  • Hide glue
  • Stiff-bladed scraper
  • Scrap wood
  • C-clamps
  • Putty knife
  • Plastic hypodermic needle
  • Waxed paper
  • Wood putty
  • 320-grit sandpaper

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    Patch missing veneer

  1. 1

    Measure the depth of the veneer on the table and select the type of veneer needed for the patch. Standard veneer is approximately 0.6 mm to 0.8 mm (1/40 inch to 1/32 inch) thick. Flexible veneer is approximately 0.4 mm (1/64 inch) thick and has a paper backing to give it strength. Because flexible veneer is available in widths of up to 1.2 m (48 inches), most table tops are made with it.

  2. 2

    Clean the area to be patched by brushing away loose dirt and dust with a dry paintbrush and wiping with a damp cloth.

  3. 3

    Even out the damaged veneer by cutting the damaged area parallel to the grain and cutting diagonal end cuts with a metal straight edge and craft knife.

  4. 4

    Trace the shape of the veneer patch by placing a piece of paper over the cut area and drawing the outer edge with a pencil. Cut out the tracing with scissors.

  5. 5

    Place the paper tracing on the new veneer and cut the veneer patch out with a craft knife. When placing the template, find an area of the replacement veneer that will best match the original veneer.

  6. 6

    Apply a thin layer of hide glue to the area to be re-veneered and press the patch into place.

  7. 7

    Apply gentle pressure against the new veneer with a stiff-bladed scraper in the opposite direction from the edge to keep the patch firmly seated.

  8. 8

    Clamp scrap wood over the patch with C-clamps while the adhesive dries for 24 hours.

    Loose or delaminated veneer

  1. 1

    Clean the dirt and debris from between the veneer and the substrate by gently inserting a putty knife between the two materials and applying downward, outward pressure on the knife.

  2. 2

    Fill a plastic hypodermic needle with hide glue and inject the glue between the veneer and the substrate in the loose area.

  3. 3

    Use a stiff-bladed scraper to apply downward and outward pressure against the repaired veneer to squeeze out the excess glue.

  4. 4

    Cover the repaired veneer with waxed paper and place a piece of scrap wood over it. Use C-clamps to secure the repaired area while the glue dries for 24 hours.

    Filling small gouges or chips

  1. 1

    Clean the chipped or gouged area of the veneer by brushing away any loose dust and dirt particles with a dry paintbrush and then running a damp cloth over the area.

  2. 2

    Apply a amount of wood putty that is the same colour as the finished veneer to the small gouge or chip, using a small putty knife.

  3. 3

    Scrape the putty knife over the repaired area to blend the putty and smooth the repaired table surface. Let the wood putty dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Finish-sand the repaired area with 320-grit sandpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • Large hypodermic needles can be purchased at most industrial supply houses.
  • Hide glue and yellow wood glue are both good options for repairing veneer on tables, but yellow glue is harder to remove.

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